Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has a selection headache ahead of Saturday’s Premier League meeting with Stoke City, with striker Lucas Perez pushing for his second start in the division after signing from Deportivo La Coruna in the summer. The Spaniard scored a hat-trick in Arsenal’s 4-1 win over FC Basel in the Champions League and could well operate on the right flank this weekend.
According to various reports, Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin could return in time to make the matchday squad for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Stoke City. The Spanish right-back has been out of action for a number of weeks with an ankle injury, but is undergoing a late fitness test to decide if he’ll make the 18-man squad.
Bellerin, 21, picked up in the injury late in Arsenal’s North London derby clash with Tottenham Hotspur in November, and has missed the Gunners’ last three Champions League group games against Ludogorets Razgard, Paris Saint-Germain and FC Basel and their last three Premier League encounters against Manchester United, Bournemouth and West Ham United.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has made it clear that star players Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil will not be sold even in case they do not extend their respective contracts.
Both footballers have just over 18 months left to run on their existing deals, and their representatives have been in talks with the club for quite some time.
However, seeing that an agreement has yet to be reached in both cases, Arsenal fans feared that at least one of their two key men could leave in the near future.
Arsenal sealed top spot in Group A of the Champions League after winning 4-1 away to FC Basel, while previous leaders Paris Saint-Germain relinquished their place at the summit after drawing with FC Ludogorets Razgrad on Tuesday evening. The Gunners now are hopeful of an easier last-16 draw against a runner-up in the group, but who could they face?
Arsene Wenger’s side can’t face a runner-up from their own group (Paris Saint-Germain) nor can they face a runner-up from their own country (Manchester City). Of sides Arsenal can face, Benfica, Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen are confirmed runners-up of Group B, Group D and Group E respectively.
Arsenal striker Lucas Perez scored a hat-trick as the Gunners thrashed FC Basel 4-1 at St. Jakob-Park on Tuesday night, sealing their place in the last-16 of the Champions League as Group A winners. The 28-year-old scored twice in the first 16 minutes of the game, and sealed his treble minutes after the restart.
Manager Arsene Wenger gave the former Deportivo man a full 90 minutes on the night, and now has a selection headache ahead of Saturday’s clash with Stoke City. Perez’s first goal came in the 8th minutes, courtesy of a pull back from Kieran Gibbs that the Spaniard could hard miss from close range.
Arsenal are hoping to snatch top spot in their final Champions League group game as they travel to face Swiss side FC Basel at St. Jakob-Park tonight. The Gunners could leapfrog leaders Paris Saint-Germain in the group if they better the result of the Parisians, and should at least win against Basel given the hosts’ woeful form in Europe this season.
FC Basel are currently bottom of Group A with two points from five games, having suffered three defeats from their last four. The home side have scored just two goals too, and have kept only one clear sheet in the Champions League – against fellow strugglers Ludogorets Razgrad, so Arsenal will fancy their chances of getting a result.
Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker is targeting a January return after having come back into training. The German centre-back has been out of action since the summer with a knee injury but could play a part for the Gunners in the second-half of the campaign when he’s expecting to be back to full fitness.
“I’m hopeful that I can join the team properly and be available to the team next year. That’s my resolution. I want to be back on the pitch and with the ball. I’m able to run now, painless, and it’s what it’s all about. When you are able to run again after such a long time it makes you feel happy,” said Mertesacker.
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka claims that he is not concerned by the somewhat slow start to his career at the Emirates, having so far failed to justify the £30 million price tag.
Arsene Wenger splashed out on the former Borussia M’gladbach captain following the departures of Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky, but the Swiss footballer hasn’t quite managed to prove his worth.
The 24-year-old started 7 Premier League fixtures, while making another 4 substitute appearances, and while he did score one goal in the process, the midfielder didn’t exactly impress when going forward.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has moved to confirm that he has plans to continue using Chilean star Alexis Sanchez in a central role after the 27-year-old bagged a hat-trick in the 5-1 hammering of West Ham.
With Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott failing to impress in a centre forward role, the Professor decided to move Sanchez from left wing to centre forward at the start of the new season, and that was one of the main reasons behind team’s impressive start to the season.
Arsenal may have thrashed West Ham United 5-1 in Saturday’s Premier League clash at the Olympic Stadium, but manager Arsene Wenger will mindful how reliant the Gunners were on playmaker Mesut Ozil, winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and centre-forward Alexis Sanchez for creativity.
Deep-lying midfielder Granit Xhaka provided little going forward, highlighted by centre-back Shkodran Mustafi creating more chances than him at the Olympic Stadium, and the summer-signing needs to produce more in Santi Cazorla’s absence to ensure Arsenal can break down better opposition this season.